Stay-at-Home Boredom Busters for Kids

Many parents around the world are wondering what to do with their kiddos now that mandated school closures are across the globe. Some are fortunate to have online learning with their teachers while others are doing their best with homeschooling. All that schoolwork adds up in time, especially when most of us parents don’t have the skills or experience in teaching a curriculum at home. And while we’re all figuring out how to balance our life at home and work, it’s important to remember that “we’re all in this together”. Any number of us is having some struggle with homeschooling or preventing boredom with the kids or hoping the kids and parents don’t drive each other crazy before all this clears over. If you’re looking for ideas for kids and families, please check out some ideas below!

AGES 3-5:

Young children around this age are most likely used to being at home if they’re not in preschool. So while they’re stuck at home, check out these activities for young kids:

  • Painting by numbers. Around this age, whether they are in preschool or not, learning numbers can give them a head start when they do start school. Painting by numbers are basically coloring books, but with numbers that match the corresponding area of the picture. You can paint by numbers using watercolor, color pencils, or crayons. Find great painting by numbers books online such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and even your local bookstore (a great time to support your local booksellers).

  • Ready to Read. These fun and educational by-age activities are great for beginner learners. Depending on their age and skills, you can find lots of fun activities for your kids. 

  • Sidewalk chalk. This outside activity is tons of fun for little ones. Take some colorful chalk and go around the neighborhood to write and/or draw uplifting words and art for neighbors. Your child can certainly do this when no one else is around for the safe distancing practice, but imagine the fun and delight your neighbors will have when they walk out of their front door! If you don’t have chalk available, you can make some at home if you already have the ingredients. 

AGES 5-8:

  • Gardening at home. Gardening is one of the most relaxing and rewarding skill you can teach your children. In fact, gardening is great for any age, any gender, and any type of experience. The most easiest and fun way of gardening is starting with seeds. Seeds grow into seedlings which eventually become larger plants that will grow into flowers or food. Seeds do take a lot longer than seedling plants but they are so much more rewarding when you can track the progress of your seeds. 

  • Computer games. Since we live in a technical world, kids eventually will be using computers and technology. Most schools already have students as young as 1st grade learning lessons on computers. If you have a computer at home, this is a great time to teach your young learners some technology skills. Once they are in school, they will be required to do basic reading and other curriculum on computers. Based on your own family routine, limit kids this age to up to 1 hour of online learning, whether through games or skill setting on Google Docs.

  • Writing letters and cards. Writing letters and greeting cards seems to be a lost skill. But some teachers across the country are still teaching their young students how to write a proper letter and greeting card. This important skill can later be applied when kids attend birthday parties or need to write to a company for school projects. You can use whatever paper stock you have at home, or pick some up at stationary stores, grocery stores, or online.

AGES 9 -11:

  • Special interests. Around this age, your child probably already developed his/her own interests. Broaden their interests (within safety reasons) by having them go online for research or reading books.

  • Crossword puzzles and Sudoku. These 2 brain challenging activities are perfect for growing minds. Find easy to do ones online that are appropriate for their age and skills.

  • Gardening advanced. If you have younger kids as mentioned above, their older siblings can also help with gardening. Have kids at this age write the name of the plants on wooden sticks, paint clay pots, or even build small wooden planters with a parent’s help.

AGES 12 and up:

  • Advanced readers. Kids around this age has either already developed a love for reading, or are reading only when it’s required by school. But it’s never too late to get your kids to enjoy reading. If you have an older child that’s struggling with reading a book from beginning to end, get them to read books of their personal interests. If they’re interested in a certain sport, find books about that sport. Interested in cars? Find books on how to fix cars, build cars, or design cars. Interested in fashion? There are many books and magazines that focus on fashion, whether it’s fashion design, fashion merchandising, or making clothing.

  • Graphic novels. Contrary to what you read when you were younger, graphic novels has really changed and evolved. Graphic novels or comic books, are books that tell stories through art. Depending on the interests of your pre-teen and teen, graphic novels range from popular series to mainstream superhero books.

  • Upcycling projects. Upcycling is one of the best ways in reducing waste. With the world around us fighting climate change and trying to reduce waste, upcycling is both fun and ethical. Kids as young as 8 can learn to upcycle what they have around the house, in their neighborhood, and even at school. Upcycling is essentially taking what you already have and finding new uses for it. The best and easiest upcycling projects include garden projects, turning old clothes into something new, or repainting an old furniture.

  • Random Acts of Kindness. When kids are a bit older, teach them that doing good for the world can have many benefits now and throughout their lives. When you do something nice for someone, it sparks joy for that person which they’ll think about throughout the day. In turn, it might even spark kindness from that individual to perform another random act of kindness for someone else. Check out Random Acts of Kindness platform for some wonderful ideas. 

I hope you all can find some peace and joy throughout this troubling time. Whether we are one individual, one nation, or one world, we’re all in this together.


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Summer Activities for the Not-So-Bored-Child

It doesn’t matter if your kids are 2, 5, or 8 years old, eventually they’ll all say these common phrases – “I’m bored, there’s nothing good on TV” or “I’m tired of my old toys, I want new ones”, or my favorite which I’ve actually heard my niece say to her parents, ” How come my friends parents are so much more fun?”. Kids. They’re pretty funny stuff but what are you gonna do, right? They’re full of energy, imagination, and curiosity and sometimes their attention span just don’t last as long. So I’ve come up with a few fun and creative activities for kids to do this summer. These activities are best suited for children ages 3-10 but you can modify it to fit any age.

1- The Ice Race. Similar to the egg and spoon race except you use ice cubes. Take crushed ice and put it in a plastic sandwich bag. If you’re concerned about the impact plastic has on the environment, use a cheesecloth instead: Simply put crushed ice in the middle of a cheesecloth, fold the ends up into a bag and tie it up. Then give a bag of ice to each child and have them line up side by side in a row like a race. Have the kids hold the bag of ice in their palm, hand open and let them race to the finish line. Whoever gets to the finish line without dropping their bag of ice or switching it to the other palm wins. This is pretty fun since it’s really hard to hold onto a bag of ice for any lenth of time. This is also a fun activity when the weather is warmer.

2- Museum Scavenger Hunt. Visit a local museum of your choice. Something that has a specific exhibit will work well with this activity and you might want to go to the museum first to prepare. Make a list of items that your child can find at the museum. And then as he/she goes through the museum, they can check it off the list. To make it interesting, include on your list items that are unusual or funny. You can also include items in the museum’s gift shop. Make sure they get a prize at the end of the scavenger hunt. This activity promotes interest of learning and patience and hopefully they’ll want to return to the museum soon.

3- Park Exploration Day. Visit a local park or a national park and collect anything that’s of interest so that later you and your child can make a scrapbook. Collect leaves of different colors, rocks, feathers, anything you can find (as long as it’s not garbage :)). This activity helps young minds learn the importance of nature and if you really want the education to go further, let them find out which tree each leaf belongs to, what the names of the rocks are, and what kind of birds do those feathers belong to.

4- Build a project. Go to your local arts and craft store with your child and pick up an unfinished wood furniture (preferably a smaller size that’s suitable for a child). Then grab paint, stickers, feathers, etc. to adorn the wood  furniture. Once the project is done, your child can proudly keep it in his/her room or anywhere in the house to use and display. This activity teaches children about self-discipline and imagination. It’s always a great accomplishment  when children can build or do a project on their own ( or at least with limited help).

5- Jungle Book. Take your child to the local arts and craft store and pick up some miniature plastic animals, craft glue, and either hard construction paper or poster boards to create a book. You’ll need at least 3 pages. To make the jungle book, cut the paper or poster boards into a 5X8″ size. Punch 3 holes using a hole puncher or awl along the edge of each paper. Using a piece of yarn or string, loop the yarn into the holes and tie off at both ends. It should resemble a book. Then, using craft glue, have your child pick out his favorite animals and glue the animals randomly on each page. There should be at least 3-5 animals on each page. Then, if your child wants to write his own story using the animals as part of the story, let his/her imagination go. Or if they’re too young to write on their own, have them help you think up a story and you can write it for them in the book. This activity teaches imagination and creativity. It also helps teach a young mind the process of storytelling and connecting a story.

All of these activities can really be enjoyed any day or season, not just in the summer. But if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a family vacation or end up spending hundreds of dollars at those theme parks, then give these fun and unique activities a try.